Nigeria, other African countries may become global hub for hydrogen
With the German government already pushing Nigeria forward in developing its hydrogen resources, global players in the industry have described Africa as a potential net exporter of hydrogen energy amidst campaigns for energy transition.
While Egypt, Kenya, Mauritania, Morocco, Namibia, and South Africa are already in the race towards what some stakeholders believe could sustainably industrialise Africa and boost Gross Domestic Product by 12 per cent, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said the potential of hydrogen in Africa is a game changer.
While about 120 million tonnes of hydrogen is produced yearly in the world, 95 per cent of it comes from natural gas, which Nigeria has, in abundance.
This development creates an optimistic outlook for hydrogen in Nigeria, especially at a time when the country is seeking investment into its $1.9 trillion energy transition plan with a focus on gas.
Last year, through the first German-Nigerian Symposium on Green Hydrogen, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH kick-started what could become Nigeria’s road map towards green hydrogen.
The Director-General for Climate Diplomacy, Economic Affairs, and Technology, German Federal Foreign Office, Oliver Rentschler had at the programme, noted that the partnership would go beyond a dialogue into realities that would ensure expansion of renewable energies between Nigeria and Germany.
Speaking at the 13th Assembly of IRENA, the agency’s Director of Knowledge Policy and Finance (KPFC), Rabia Ferroukhi said green hydrogen remains a key pathway to energy transition in Africa.
Ferroukhi said thinking through the bankability of the projects and ensuring viable fiscal and regulatory outlook to unlock the potentials are critical for the continent.
While high production cost, infrastructure, energy loss, sustainability and other challenges are critical to development of hydrogen across the world, Ferroukhi believes that getting the policy and business right in Africa could be the only leeway to investment either within Africa or outside Africa.
The target of IRENA assists in building national hydrogen strategies, identifying policy priorities, establishing a governance system and enabling policies, and creating a system for guarantee of origin for green hydrogen.
Earlier, Project and Business Advisor for the GIZ Project Development Programme, Zainab Aliyu Datti had expressed concerns on how to establish a market for hydrogen in Nigeria, adding that a global fund for hydrogen from oil majors might be feasible, to provide support for a nascent market.
Director-General of the Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN), Eli Bala told The Guardian that the country is yet to have a national policy on hydrogen but noted that the current decision could become viable.
With decarbonisation becoming serious, the hydrogen market is projected to hit $700 billion by 2050 but countries in the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia, UAE and others are projected as gainers.